Tuesday, February 07, 2006

File-sharing

French law would make file-sharing cheaper, easier

Comments: I'm not really sure what the solution is to this issue, though I'm becoming less and less inclined to support "the artists" on this issue. The fact of the matter is that current technology makes most standing copyright laws hopelessly out of date, and most importantly, unenforcable. Also, I question whether it is in fact defensible that "artists" should have nearly unending ownership over their work even after it has been bought and resold and passed through so many hands.

I think the case of recording artists is a particularly interesting example of this. Back in the day, artists/bands would pay the bills by touring - the idea that one could make a lucrative living simply selling albums would have been unthinkable. In a way, it was old technological limitations (the cost involved in having the equipment necessary to manufacture audio recordings, especially ones of decent quality) which made this a market for musicians, not "divine right" or the objective moral order.

Well, times have changed. Anyone with a desktop computer can manufacture an audio CD, and with an Internet connection, have access to audio files. So perhaps what this really marks is sort of "full circle", where relying on studio recordings and the totally artificial "cult of celebrity" (where "stars" are just as manufactured as the compact discs their noise has been etched into) will no longer allow someone to essentially make an opulent living doing little real work.

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