Saturday, July 08, 2006

Copyright and Hot Summer Vacation

Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) in our garden. Heat wave in Sweden, almost a hundred degrees in the shade.

Been busy discussing innovation policy with a Chinese delegation from Chongqing and wrapping up all left-over work before the summer vacation. (By law, normal working time in Sweden is 40 hours per week, with five weeks of paid vacation. Being over 40 years of age, I have seven weeks according to labor union agreement.)

Intellectual property is a big issue in China, believe it or not. I have discussed the existence of copyright a lot lately, mostly due to the raid on ThePirateBay. I strikes me how much mudslinging there out there is and how little constructive discussing. Some exceptions: Johan Norberg, Joel Malmqvist (in Swedish).

The politicians, no matter political color, are uninterested and opportunistic concerning copyright on the net.

What irritates me is that file sharing is used as a PR tool for extremist political agendas and prevents a healthy development of the music business for the benefit of the consumer. The “copyright is stealing” arguments virtually gets unchallenged in Sweden, except with aggressive lobbying from the movie industry. Therefore we suddenly get overreactions from the Swedish government such as the raid on ThePirateBay.

OK , here goes:
Ownership is a fundamental basis for our society, and there is no principle difference between physical and intellectual property rights.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights – UN
Article 17
Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
(In case anyone didn’t know…)
Ownership is also one of the basic rights in constitutions all over the world. It is commonly respected for physical things, but not for electronic files containing artistic products.

The solution is not more laws, but new business models. The record industry must develop new business models, adapted to the new technologies. But they have been far too slow to use the opportunities of digital communications and the internet. For me it is obvious that the music industry today is controlled by lawyers and not by professional music business people.


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