Saturday, February 2, 2013

Imaginary Property on Imaginary Infrastructure; also known as the Internet

Enforcing copyright on the Internet is quite weird, for lack of a better term. How do you shut down a website? Well a website is "intellectual property". It might exist in any physical location at any given time, but it doesn't need to. You can easily copy this website and produce your own copy, if you wanted to.

If I want someone to stop using a factory, I can just have the authorities shut it down (maybe, if they agree to). It's not going to mysteriously pop back up again 5 seconds later. But if I want to shut down a website, how do I do that? Do I go to the website factory and tell them to stop operating?

The very thing that makes copyright hard to enforce, also makes it even harder to enforce (yes, you read that right). I can't use meatspace solutions to enforce my non-meatspace property.

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