As a content creator, I respect the rights of creatives to earn from their work. As noted in my previous posts on the topic, it’s very easy these days to reuse the work of others when digitally distributed. And because it’s easy, people don’t always realize they might be “stealing.”
To add to the mess, there are people who derive anarchistic joy from obtaining and openly sharing media, like movies and music, with other people who don’t pay anything for the source materials.
Overreaction to these sharing practices has led us down a slippery slope. The record industry has been gutted by these practices and the lack of intelligent oversight. It makes me sad that I can’t walk into a record store* anymore. If you don’t know what a record store is, rent (don’t steal) the movie High Fidelity.
Now, there’s a tool called the Copyright Alert System developed by the Center for Copyright Information. This system seeks to EDUCATE rather than THREATEN users. From the response I’ve gotten to my posts on threats I received from a photo archive, there are many users out there who sincerely want to play by the rules but aren’t always sure if they are. This tool appears to be very good solution to the problem. It will let you know when you’re screwing up and suggest that you straighten up and fly right without asking you to pay any fines or surrender your right to travel the internet unmolested.
The Copyright Alert System appears to be aimed specifically at people who download and share large files, such as movies and music. I would hope that in the future, similar methods could be applied to enforcement of copyright on images and less bandwidth-intensive creative works, but that remains to be seen.
I applaud this effort and hope that people will begin to comprehend the importance of respecting content creators and their intellectual property. To further promote this idea and to fully acknowledge my resources, I invite you to visit this blog post for more information: http://blog.copyrightalliance.org/2012/10/a-sensible-approach-to-the-copyright-alert-system/
*OK, I checked, there are still a few surviving record stores in Manhattan and Brooklyn. But they are on the endangered species list. See this post from April of this year. Note that Colony Records, a fixture in the city’s music district, just closed a couple of months ago. The numbers continue to dwindle and there are no mass market stores any longer (Tower, Virgin, etc. any longer) and I do miss them.