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Criticism of Copyright

In my previous article about piracy, I talked about the general definitions and concepts of the copyright law, and covered it’s advantages and some of it’s shortcomings. This article will cover the criticism directed at the current international copyright law.
Copyright is a law, thus it must be obeyed. However, no law is perfect. Just like many laws in the past that have become obsolete by now (such as slavery), copyright too might be actually wrong; and it might be improved or rendered useless in the future. Unfortunately, copyright has many shortcomings, making many people believe that it has become obsolete already. The message is clear: Obeying the copyright is not necessarily the right thing to do.
Copyright’s initial goal was to give people incentive for creation. It was believed that encouraging creative people to share their creations will in the long term be of benefit to the general public: After the author or the inventor of the original work passed away, people could use his creations to improve their life. On the other hand, if the said person didn’t have enough incentives to publish his creation, he might never create it and that would never be of benefit to anyone.
Thus, the governments began to give the creators an exclusive right to publish their own creation, a government granted monopoly so to speak. Their work was called an “intellectual property”. This, is a rather confusing term. An intellectual property is not a real property, it’s a right. The work of the creators in itself can not be owned by anyone: it’s a thought, and anyone is entitled to think about the said thought. This is called the freedom of thought.
However, huge corporations use this confusion to their own profit: They make people think that they own their work, not the right to publish it, dubbing anyone who use their work in any way a thieve. The copyright law has many different solutions to how copyrighted material is handled and what’s illegal and what’s not. Big corporations however, like you to think that doing anything to a copyrighted material is essentially illegal. They want us to think that copyright is created to protect their “properties”, never talking about the people’s benefit which was supposed to be gained from copyright law.


Big companies are good at calling people “thieves” and “pirates”

What is Piracy? What is copyright?

– Why do people pay $60 for a game when they can just download it off a torrent for free?
– Downloading games from torrents is ILLEGAL! The developers will be unable to earn money for their hard work and will probably lose their jobs when you pirate games!!!
The above conversation is what you typically witness in forums or chat rooms when the topic somehow shifts to the issue of piracy; some people are in favor of it, some are strongly opposed to it, and some just don’t care.
But Who’s really right? Who’s in the wrong? To find the answer, first we must see what piracy exactly is.  And for that we need to know about the exact meaning of copyright:
Why Copyright?
Piracy is (not) Theft.
Fair Use: How to legally infringe a copyright?
Read More

Why Copyright?
“A copyright is a set of exclusive rights granted by a state to the creator of an original work or their assignee for a limited period of time upon disclosure of the work.” “To encourage a dynamic culture, while returning value to creators so that they can lead a dignified economic existence, and to provide widespread, affordable access to content for the public.”

Before the passing of copyright law, people used to write books as a hobby. To encourage people to write books and be creative (which would in turn benefit the whole society) the governments began to give the authors “the right to copy their works”. This meant that only the authors were allowed to copy their books, so they were the only people who were able to sell them. This would become a source of income for the authors, letting them live by simply writing and being creative. A copyright will expire 70 years after the death of the author, so the authors can even write when they’re old, leaving the income of their books for their families.
If the copyright law didn’t exist, anyone could copy a book and sell it to the public for any price he desired, leaving the original author with little to no income for living. Although the copyright law  originally applied to only the copying of books, today it covers a wide range of works, including maps, sheet music, dramatic works, paintings, photographs, architectural drawings, sound recordings, motion pictures and computer programs.


“The first Copyright law, passed in 1710”
Piracy is (not) Theft.
“Copyright infringement is the unauthorized or prohibited use of works under copyright, infringing the copyright holder’s exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce or perform the copyrighted work, or to make derivative works.”

“The copyright infringement of software (often imprecisely referred to as software piracy) refers to several practices which involve the unauthorized copying of computer software.”