Skip to content

A Free Market Solution to Online Copyright Infringement?

May 26, 2010

An interesting development in the internet landscape is that copyright holders have adapted to utilize new technology that can be used to infringe copyright. It is a wonderful example the free market finding a balance to promote Constitutional intellectual property policy, and a reminder that often the best solution is minimal regulation.

There have been a number of new developments in some ongoing internet copyright cases in the past month. Viacom v. YouTube is moving forward, LimeWire is in trouble, and the Hurt Locker Producers intend to sue thousands of people who pirated their movie. The concern now is the potential damage that could result from rules created from the above-mentioned lawsuits.

From an intellectual property policy perspective, the answer to the difficult questions surrounding online technology and infringement seems to be that, unregulated, economic forces will find a middle ground. Therefore, courts and lawmakers should allow the economic forces to find the appropriate balance and not interfere by creating strengthened copyright laws.

Current copyright law, while seemingly well-intentioned, has become absurd. Copyrighted works have become too expensive, and many involved (particularly record labels, movie companies, etc.) seem to refuse to change with the times. In response, the law has broken down and is not respected.

When things are not working properly, the free market can and should respond. In this case the market responded by creating ways to freely distribute music and movies. This free distribution has made artists more accessible, exposing them to a larger audience, which has many obvious benefits. Currently the economic market is reaching a balance again, as copyright holders begin to use new internet developments to control and promote their works. This is being done without interference by lawmakers.

Services like iTunes allow people to buy songs efficiently and at a low price. Internet radio services like Pandora allow free listening. Artists have started to employ YouTube and other free music sources as a way to generate interest and link to places where people can purchase their music. Economic forces are fixing the problem of potential rampant infringement, and technology is being utilized to promote the progress of the arts. You have to love the Invisible Hand.

Ideally, copyright holding companies in the music and movie industries will continue to see the value in new technology, and work to harness it, instead of trying to slow progress. Further, we can only hope that courts and/or Congress do not create more laws that will inappropriately strengthen copyright law at the cost of technological progress.

Advertisements
3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 26, 2010 8:42 pm

    “From an intellectual property policy perspective, the answer to the difficult questions surrounding online technology and infringement seems to be that, unregulated, economic forces will find a middle ground. Therefore, courts and lawmakers should allow the economic forces to find the appropriate balance and not interfere by creating strengthened copyright laws.”

    From an intellectual property policy perspective, the answer to the difficult questions surrounding software and business method patents and infringement thereof seems to be that, unregulated, economic forces will find a middle ground. Therefore, courts and lawmakers should allow the economic forces to find the appropriate balance and not interfere by expanding patent law beyond the useful arts.

    I agree with both of the above.

Trackbacks

  1. Workarounds « 1.8.8. The IP Policy Blog
  2. Internet Blacklisting « 1.8.8. The IP Policy Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: