The debate about copyright is heating up in the Western world. At diablog we have said a few things about it. Today I would like to add some common sense. Beware, I am not a lawyer.
1. Nobody "knows" the law
Never mind that every nation has its own copyright laws. But even the experts, politicians and copyright holders don't know the laws. Much less the average citizen. This becomes painfully obvious, when official websites are full of copyright violations. When newspaper websites use content without license.
And if your average citizen doesn't know the law, s/he cannot be expected to follow it.
2. Intellectual Property has its limits, like all property
Every piece of property gives you certain rights. And it comes with some limitations and duties. That is true for real (sic!) estate property. And it is equally true for what is called intellectual property.
If you have the lease for the Manhattan bridge, you are allowed to charge for cars. But you have to maintain the bridge, keep it open 24/7 and pedestrians use it for free.
Society grants the copyright holder a monopoly. And that comes with limitations.
If you don't want the limitations, don't get the rights.
3. If you have a special right, it is on your watch
In all recent law initiatives, the copyright industry wants everyone to play "copyright police".
ISPs are supposed to spy on internet users, send out warnings, block "offenders", censor websites and what not.
Is the police checking my bag, when I leave a store?
Is police watching your car? Securing your garden?
If you want extra security, you do it and you pay for it. Period.
4. Every rights holder has enforcement limitations
If you steal from my store, I can sue you. But I cannot kill you.
If you scratch my car, I can sue you, I cannot beat you up.
Copyright holders and politicians have lost perspective completely.
If I accidentally kill an artist, I will get a five year prison term.
If I copy his songs, I will go to prison for 15 years?
Have you lost your marbles?
5. Your right is our limitation
Naturally, every copyright means a limitation for all (!) others. The interest of the people got lost over the last 30+ years. Copyright on a color? On a string of a few keys?
Patents are protected for 20 years. That's enough. Why does copyright deserve 70+ years?
Unless copyright holders return to common sense, they will loose all. People will be so upset, that they will ignore copyright completely. Because copyright is not needed. It is a gift from society, not a necessity.