In this post I will discuss three of the essential parts in the filesharing debate.
*Consumers show a need that is not satisfied by the market,
*The intellectual property law needs to change.
*The need for control to maintain power.
The filesharing is a result of improvements in technology and a need to share and be social with each other. When new technology emerges and it is superior to existing technology the market needs to adapt to the new needs of citizens in our digital society. People don’t want to wait another few days (or weeks) for the end of the show they are watching. A lot of people would rather enjoy music digitally right away instead of buying a CD and converting it themselves. People have a need to be spontaneous at home and deciding what movie they would like to see now instead of planning it beforehand or having to walk off to rent a movie somewhere.
Intellectual Property Law
As I see it copyright is a “monologue” where people are meant to consume instead of participating in the further shaping of the copyrighted piece. This limits the communication and creativity that would otherwise take place. Before our digital age copyright had a good place in our society preventing physical copies to be made elsewhere which was directly damaging to the sales. Today when a technological change has made copying of digital material almost costless the old copyright law no longer applies in the same way it used to. The intellectual property law needs to change to reflect this but the established companies are happy with the profits from their old business model and do what they can to maintain this model. For society to adapt copyright to our digital age we need to either change intellectual copyright law or we are forced to change other existing rights such as Secrecy of Letters (Brevhemligheten), Source Protection (källskydd) and Mere Conduit.
A Need For Control
The filesharing debate is essentially about the right to knowledge and the sharing of it. Today knowledge-hoarders have power since they are the ones sitting on more knowledge than others have. With a bigger access to knowledge the society gets more equal. Inside larger corporations they have the possibilities of remixing each others work with that corporation. Having an opportunity of remixing leads to an increased creativity. The creation of copyright was meant to allow creativity but today it acts more as a restrictor of creativity. “To discuss the actual conditions of creation, one should also discuss how the act of creation is done”
For a further discussion around the need to change copyright take a look at my blog-post “Copyright Worked In The Past But Not Anymore”
For more around the concept of copyright as a monologue listen to “Larry Lessig on laws that choke creativity”.]