- An author should be able to make money from their work!
- Copyright enables a market for works, and this encourages the creation of new works! (M: This is actually basically the argument for copyright that is recorded in the Constitution.)
- Copyright is property, and a property rights are essential to a modern society!
So what is the problem with copyright? The problem with copyright is when you scratch beyond the surface. The surface beyond these cheerful agreeable slogans is called copyright enforcement. Lets add copyright enforcement to the mix.
- An author should be able to make money from their work. To enforce this, I should be able to spy on everyone's private communications!
- Copyright enables a market for works, and this encourages the creation of new works! To enforce this, we should scour the web and search for things that potentially violate copyright and shut them down without even a court order!
- Copyright is property, and a property rights are essential to a modern society! Therefore, we should sue single mothers and students for millions of dollars when we catch them violating copyright!
Some pro-copyright'ers might be like "still looks good to me". Especially the few that supported SOPA/PIPA, Hadopi and thought record companies suing random Americans into life servitude is a noble cause. But once you add copyright enforcement to the mix, naturally the support for copyright starts to fall apart.
But that is real copyright enforcement. It's incredibly ugly, and even the most ardent pro-copyright'ers don't like to talk about it very much. You won't see any of this on a pro-copyright blog:
- If you can't audit people's private communications, you can't know if what they are doing is copyright infringing. Therefore, you can not have a healthy copyright system. France has decided that mass invasion of privacy is an essential element of copyright enforcement - and the USA is following their lead even though this violates the Forth Amendment - by taking this system private via a conspiracy of ISPs and content companies called the "Center for Copyright Information".
- Due process, proving infringement is difficult and expensive. Therefore content creators have helped pass an oppressive law called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that allows them to remove content from the web without having to prove that actual infringement occurred. There are many example DMCA gung-ho philosophy to injunctions being used to outright censor speech, even political speech, including the Democratic National Convention's live feed. Other attempted bills such as SOPA/PIPA could have extend this idea to entire websites but were narrowly defeated.
- Copyright damages that were designed for massive scale. Fines of up to $150,000 per instance of infringement are applied on the average citizen by copyright holders. Copyright holders don't even have to prove that damages occurred under the current law to get these kinds of judgements!
Without copyright enforcement, copyright law is worth less than the paper it is printed on. And the pro-copyright'ers are always hungry for new enforcement, because the crazy amount of leverage in the law that they have today (high statuary damages, injunctions without proof, suspension of privacy rights) is not sufficient against the tide of the information age.
Problem is you can't have real enforcement without violatating basic principles of liberty and privacy that we are accustomed to (feel free to correct me, but I haven't seen it).
So with enforcement, copyright shows it's ugly side. And since copyright and enforcement can not be separated, copyright itself is ugly. Don't support copyright.