"Pirate Cinema" by Cory Doctorow is about copyright law and how 'Big Content' will continue to impede innovation and creativity if left unchecked by us, the consumer. For those unfamiliar with Mr. Doctorow and his politics here's a link to his Wikipedia page:
For those not disposed to clicking the link above I can sum it up by stating that all of Mr. Doctorow's ebooks are published DRM-Free and under the Creative Commons license. Here is a link about Creative Commons licensing.
I found it interesting, but not coincidental, that while I was reading "Pirate Cinema" two posts were made regarding 'pirating' books. And both specifically mentioned Mr. King's latest work "Joyland" and how it is being pirated.
The first step in reducing piracy is to provide the content to everyone at a fair price. Mr. King, very publicly in my opinion, stated he was not allowing "Joyland" to be published digitally. What did he expect?
Here are a few facts:
1. The genie is out of the bottle and it will not go back in. Books are now available digitally. And will be (for purposes of our discussion) available digitally forever. Mr. King's putting his head in the sand and not publishing his work digitally will not change this fact.
2. Digital content can be copied infinitely and distributed instantly everywhere on Earth. This may be done essentially for free.
3. DRM is not a solution to piracy. Any business plan that assumes its customers are crooks is doomed to fail.
4. Copyright (and patents) are good for the economy and foster innovation.
5. Current Copyright (and patent) law is stifling the economy and strangling innovation. This is true nationally and internationally.
I am sure I have inflamed many of you; just as I am sure several of you agree with my statements.
I strongly urge those of you passionate about this (as I am) to read "Common as Air" by Lewis Hyde. He gives a very salient history (relatively opinion free) of copyright law.
I will close with this for you think about -
a) How long should a copyright last?
>>>"The Lord of the Rings" will enter the Public Domain in 2043. That is 70 years after JRR Tolkien's death and 90 years after being first published.
>>>Walt Disney's "Snow White" will enter the Public Domain in 2036, 99 years after being released. (Disney is famous for generously 'taking' from the Public Domain but not giving back!)
So, three plus generations of "Tolkiens" will live off of copyright profits from Lord of the Rings and the Disney corporation will generate profits from Snow White for another generation plus. And who pays these profits?
Which brings me to my last fact:
6. Project Gutenberg is great for all of us! The more works the sooner in the Public Domain then the more works the sooner in Project Gutenberg and the better for everyone.
Works being in the Public Domain is not a dangerous or bad thing. Just ask Shakespeare ("Much Ado About Nothing" was just released) or Dickens ("Great Expectations" is being released later this year). Or better yet, go to Project Gutenberg and get a copy of these for yourself. And get a copy for a friend too; they're free!
I neither pirate nor condone piracy. I believe current copyright laws are overly restrictive and need to be changed. Not changed to the benefit of 'Big Content', but to the benefit of the 'real' owners - Humankind.
That is what "Pirate Cinema" is about.