Friday, October 12, 2007

The Copyright Alliance

A newly formed group called the Copyright Alliance, composed of many powerhouses in the entertainment and media industry (such as the RIAA and the ESA, Entertainment Software Association), held a presentation on Thursday in Washington for congressmen and staffers. The intent of the gathering was to reinforce the message that "copyright protection is good and must be enforced to the maximum extent." (my quote by the way)

I don't understand the urgency behind forming a group and holding yet another event to lobby representatives in Washington, when our copyright laws are already so tilted in their favor. Copyright law was originally intended to ensure that an artist or creator of some material was fairly compensated for their efforts. However, due to much corporate lobbying, it's mutated into a monster where copyright is protected for 120 years after creation and in which middlemen (and most likely not the creator) will be able to profit from the work. Talking heads say these kinds of laws protect the artistic rights of the creators, but they just do the exact opposite, which is stifle creativity. To keep it in the gaming world, over the years there have been several attempts by independent game designers to remake or expand on several games (like Chrono Trigger and King's Quest). As far as I know, these projects were undertaken with no vision of profit, only for these people's love of the games. Yet in these instances, the holder of the copyright(s) legally threatened the projects into oblivion.

There's also the DMCA, which I've mentioned before in my blog. This law considers even fair use of a product (like copying a CD that you own to your computer, or burning a backup DVD of a movie that you bought at the store) illegal. Not to mention the draconian penalties brought on people who download music by the RIAA, which I also recently posted about on the blog.

I completely support nabbing and punishing those who pirate media and then sell it for a profit. But other than that, I don't look at the Copyright Alliance (and their members) as the good guys. They've shown all too often that their idea of copyright is to prevent fair use, suppress creativity, invade privacy of its consumers, and destroy lives (like the RIAA case I talked about).

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