Home > Americas, Canada, Economics, Politics > The Canadian Copyright Debate Takes Some Strange Metaphysical Turns

The Canadian Copyright Debate Takes Some Strange Metaphysical Turns

Christopher Moore writes in the Literary Review of Canada:

The consultant specialized in young people and how to sell to them. He was funny and fast, and he impressed this audience of boomer-age publishers and media people. Don’t even talk about convergence, he told them; what else have kids ever known? He evoked that world where your kids Facebook their friends, Google the school assignment, download that Lost episode and rip the new tune from MySpace, all at the same time. When they want to. On their terms.

Copyright? Today’s kids admire creativity and creative people, he said, but in their hearts they believe in the One Device, a sleek thing coming to provide everything, and seamlessly. Their reaction would always be the same: “What do you mean, I can’t do what I want with this? I already paid for it.”

The presentation was terrific. But it’s not only kids thinking this way about new media. I considered the publishers of newspapers and periodicals right there in the room. In an age when periodicals appeared one day and were fishwrap the next, they used to acquire periodical content on a one-time fee for a one-time use. Now, click on your favourite newspaper website and it offers you paid or ad-based access to practically everything it ever published. The jaundiced freelancer in me knew what the publisher would say when the writer of those stories claimed a share of that new revenue. “What do you mean, I can’t do what I want with this? I already paid for it.”

Today’s periodical publishers differ from teenagers because the publishers have lawyers ready to go to the Supreme Court on this issue.

And the Supreme Court? If the importance of being free to do what you want with the digital material in your hands is a defining trait of teenagers, we may have on our hands an outbreak of teenage mutant Supreme Court justices.

Read the complete text >>

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