blinddrew wrote:I'm not talking about the definition of copyright, I'm talking about the purpose - different things.
Fair 'nuf. I was responding to wireman's super-simple challenge, noting it wasn't very challenging. :)
The political question - to go back to the thread - is which interests should be given priority: the individual author rights on their work (as the current copyright law does) or a supposedly greater interest by the non-authors community to use and distribute that work.
This is not an unusual question - it's essentially the reason for all politics. . In our western society - property and ownership and the benefits of it have (like it or not) a very special, central role.
It could be that art and media should be treated differently from a car or a house, I don't know. There are certainly a number of fields where ownership and property and market forces are emphatically not the right tool: public health, infrastructure, security etc.
But for art the current copyright law establishes a (to me) reasonable principle compromise: a limited period of full rights ownership by the author, so that he/she has an incentive to produce and to enjoy the economic returns of his work, followed by public domain availability for all the rest of time.
I'm not sure the existence or not of a specific technology should change this principle. It seems to me like a fair compromise already.
That a specific technology (say the Internet) makes initially harder to enforce the principle is certain: but - technically - the cat is not at all out the sack. The capabilities of the current western world computing infrastructure (which is growing exponentially every day) are mind-boggling and we have reached a point where - if the political will is there - there would be no problem in intercepting the vast majority of violations. This was not true a few years back.
Think of a what a Melodyne can do now. That kind of analysis would have been pure science fiction just a few years ago. There's more power in an iphone than in all computing power combined of the first 40 years of computers existence. My first computer was a ZX81 with 1K RAM, and look where we are now. Few people outside the IT business realize the computing power every even small company (including service providers) have at their fingertips. It is a matter of will.