Copyright: A Modest Proposal

Maybe if we stopped saying “copy” everywhere we’d find a way to fix copyright?

Ball Of Points

  1. Why is a song that I play digitally or a book I read electronically subject to extensive controls that are not considered appropriate to physical records or books? It’s because they are subject to licenses that can’t be applied by the seller to the physical works.
  2. Why can those licences be imposed on digital works? Because the use of digital works is considered subject to copyright, whereas the use of physical works is not because of a legal doctrine called “copyright exhaustion”.
  3. Why is that? Because the act of instantiating the work for use has been described as “copying”, allowing the rules surrounding copyright to be used as a threat to back up arbitrary license terms controlling use.
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