Mean$, End$, and Congre$$

We have Copyright law in the U.S. because of these 31 words:

Congress shall have power to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.

That’s from the Constitution, Article I, Section 8.

Let’s do some basic parsing of that sentence:

Ends: Promote the progress of science and useful arts.

Means: Securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.

The recent and ongoing attempts by Congress to fight “piracy” have paid no attention to the ends of Copyright law, just the means: Our elected representatives are not wringing their hands about the amount of content produced or consumed, but about the billions of dollars purportedly diverted from entrenched revenue flows. No surprise here; Congress follows the money.

Ah, yes, the money. More than one commentator, and even the Government Accountability Office, have questioned the entertainment industry’s sky-high figures on the cost of “piracy” to their companies and to the U.S. economy.

Well, today the smog has cleared and we can breathe some fresh air. In a comprehensive study, Michael Masnick and Michael Ho conclude that “The Sky is Rising”:

Contrary to the dire warnings of the legacy entertainment industry players, the market is booming, with ever greater content choices for consumers, more options for creators, and many more opportunities for smart businesses & artists to make money. More content creators are producing more content than ever before — and are more able to make money off of their content than ever before.  On top of that, consumers are living in a time of absolute abundance and choice — a time where content is plentiful in mass quantities, leading to a true renaissance for them.

The 35-page report covers video, book publishing, music, and games, and includes delightful case studies ranging from Louis CK’s 12-day million-dollar payoff to the Humble Indie Bundle that’s taking the game industry by storm.

Hollywood loves sequels, and when SOPA and PIPA made their exit, attentive audience members heard them whisper, “We’ll be back!” Next time, though, they’re likely to be upstaged by a new arrival.

/Steve/

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