The Right to Copy

There’s an eloquently written essay of utter garbage at the New York Times right now. Written by someone who simply must be shilling for the major recording companies, the piece proposes that copyright should be extended forever. Here’s a bit of it:

Would it not be just and fair for those who try to extract a living from the uncertain arts of writing and composing to be freed from a form of confiscation not visited upon anyone else? The answer is obvious, and transcends even justice. No good case exists for the inequality of real and intellectual property, because no good case can exist for treating with special disfavor the work of the spirit and the mind.

Gaggingly florid prose conflating real property with the intellectual sort is a lark. Can one live in words or music, like one can a house? Or, can one make an infinte number of copies of a house for sale at a nominal price? Clearly, we are talking about two different things. Very different.

The author’s other leap into fantasy aims to pluck our heart-strings of conscience over the welfare of the artist’s progeny. As if one person’s failure to take care of his or her children while alive is somehow everyone else’s responsibility post mortem. Furthermore, who would benefit from Mozarts’s work? The author used Mozart as an ironic example to prop up his gossamer argument, but Mozart’s children died without producing further heirs. So, how can we feel sorry for the welfare of those non-entities?

Conveniently, no mention of the real beneficiaries of perpetual copyright is made. The author’s masters prefer to remain in the shadows where they can count their money undisturbed.


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