Tuesday, May 20, 2014

One small step (backwards) for man...

It's no secret how I'm rather anti-copyright in my views. Intellectual property laws are hailed by big business as essential to the economy and progress, but in reality, they hamper human creativity and curtail new IP from being created. The same is true with current patent law. Just think if Isaac Newton had patented Calculus when he invented it... science would have been set back decades. Likewise, creative works are all derivative - there's no such thing as a truly original work. Yet corporations continually find loopholes or lobby to create loopholes if none exist that allow them to extend their copyright indefinitely.

A recent travesty brought this to my attention once again. Retired Canadian astronaut, Commander Chris Hadfield, may be the most popular space traveler to live since Armstrong, despite only getting 1/1000ths the distance from Earth that the Apollo crews did. How did he become so popular? Through savvy Internet/social media use, Hadfield showed the world what life about the ISS was like. His time on the ISS went viral in a big way, with his wonderful recording of David Bowie's Space Oddity in May 2013. Now, Hadfield negotiated this with Bowie, and got permission to show this video for one year. 22.5 million hits later, nobody will ever see it again (except for us enterprising pirates, anyway.) Hadfield has done more to reintroduce kids to the dream of being an astronaut than anyone in 40 years, and now his little piece of culture is gone. Now, I'm not entirely blaming Bowie (although if he had an ounce of nobility in himself, he'd realize that the world was a better place with that piece of art in it than it is now and arrange to have it put back again -- which maybe he plans to do, so I'm not judging him), but the copyright system in general, which makes it imperative to guard your IP if you ever want to make money off of it again.

The system is flawed in an irreparable way. The system has to die. The Earth's too small for us to compartmentalize every little bit of data and guard it with grasping fingers. I want to say copyright is doomed; that this desperate measure of the big corporate monsters to control every last aspect of our lives with their outdated business models can only fail, but I lack the faith I had when I was younger, faith that things would eventually work out in the way most beneficial for all.

So here am I floating round my tin can
Far above the Moon
Planet Earth is blue
And there's nothing I can do...

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