File-sharing has weakened copyright—and helped society http://bit.ly/bcwl1W
Copyright is about creating incentives to create. It is not about protecting the business models of entrenched players.
Given that there is currently zero evidence that file sharing has hurt any music performer or TV/Film producer (and the US GAO says the “studies” by the industry (ie IRAA MPAAP are not factually based) and that performers still perform and creators still create, there seems to be no evidence that society has been hurt by relaxing copyright. In fact there’s a lot of evidence that weaker copyright has made society stronger, while not harming any industry.
Now, specific sectors, like CDs may have been hurt, overall the music industry is up 5% since 2007. What we’re really looking at is a business model problem from the Record Companies and studios, who are trying to get their dying business models entrenched in law by outrageous lobbying (and the congrescritters listen without brains turned on) regardless of what is good for society as a whole.
There’s just so much great content in this article at Ars that you really have to read it all.
Oberholzer-Gee and Strumpf presented a recent paper at a music business conference in Vienna that tried to answer this question empirically. By charting the production of new books, new music albums, and new feature films over the last decade, the authors tried to see whether creative output went up or down in correlation with file-sharing.
“Data on the supply of new works are consistent with our argument that file sharing did not discourage authors and publishers,” they write in their paper, “File-sharing and Copyright” (PDF).
“The publication of new books rose by 66 percent over the 2002-2007 period. Since 2000, the annual release of new music albums has more than doubled, and worldwide feature film production is up by more than 30 percent since 2003… In our reading of the evidence there is little to suggest that the new technology has discouraged artistic production. Weaker copyright protection, it seems, has benefited society.”