Monday, November 26, 2012

Legalize Downloading

This is the youth vote issue par excellance.  Republicans could take it up and attract just about everyone who owns an Ipod.  Not a peep out of Republicans or Democrats on this issue last election.  It's like they never heard of it.
  That probably comes from two reasons.  Pols are mostly old fuds in their 60's who don't even do email, and have lost contact with the college age generation.  They don't understand.  And the labels have given lots of money to keep downloading illegal.  Money talks to most pols.  Money may not vote, but it does talk.
   Just making downloading legal would be a fairly drastic step, it would mean the end of copyright.  Authors depend upon copyright for their livings, many of them would stop writing if copyright went away.  Movies need big money to make.  Without copyright protection they could not raise that big money, so we would be reduced to watching things like the Blair Witch Project.
   A decent  halfway step, would be to reduce the length of copyright.  Used to be copyright and patents ran for 14 years.  The last copyright law revision, aided by Disney and the labels, jacked copyright up to life of the author plus 70 years, halfway to forever.
  With copyright set to 17 years, most of the music sloshing around the internet would be legal.  The young are playing and downloading mostly stuff that was popular when I was in college, and that was more than 17 years ago. 
   Trouble is, making a policy of "17 year copyright" meaningful to the young would take a heap of doing.  Most of them would have difficulty connecting "17 year copyright" with "most of my music would be out of copyright" and "downloading out of copyright music is legal".

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