Copyright distorts the market

Copyright distorts the market is an interesting coulmn from The Age.

The main focus in on The RIAA and file swapping, but they do a good job at looking at the larger issues involved with copyright. The author, Graeme Philipson, says then that copyright, and the very idea of intellectual property are comparatively recent phenomena in human history. There is nothing sacrosanct about them, and the ease with which music, or text, or software can now be copied indicates that their days may be numbered.


As outraged as I continue to be by unbalanced copyright, I would note:

"Recent" as in "300 years" (for copyright protection) is like "recent" as in "the idea of a democratic state, slavery as being less than the natural way," "Oh, maybe people DO want to live past 40," and so on.

LOTS of creative people make money from royalties. If this "author" doesn't, it's because he/she hasn't written books that anybody buys, or articles that anyone wants to reprint. I've made enough from royalties to take several cruises, and I work within the small field of librarianship. Anyone who thinks that 'the advance is all you'll ever see' has either never worked in a specialized field or never written a worthwhile book: I've seen post-advance royalties on at least 10 of 14 books I've written, and one of those four is only four months old.

I think we all accomplish more by working within the subtleties, but that's hard. Simplistic bombs-across-the-bow pieces like this one are more fun (and a LOT easier to write). Too bad they're essentially useless.